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The Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion offers an exercise science option for students who do not wish to obtain a teacher certification. The exercise science option is for students who plan to work with adults in a variety of sports, healthcare and fitness settings. The Practicum is a class in which students must complete a total of 300 contact hours of “real life” experience in a career field they are interested in pursuing. Students complete 300-work hours minimum for 6 hours credit in one semester or 150-work hours minimum for 3 hours credit per semester over 2 semesters.

The practicum is designed for the student to work in an assortment of situations. For example, if the student was assigned to a physical therapy unit of a clinic or hospital that deals with sports medicine, the student would: 1) assist in the performance of all aspects of adult fitness evaluations including cardiovascular endurance tests, muscular endurance tests, muscular flexibility tests and assist in the evaluation of these tests; 2) assist in pre-season screening of athletic teams; 3) appropriately assist the physical therapy personnel in the performance of their duties; 4) assist with record keeping and office management; 5) help with maintenance of equipment; and 6) contribute to cost efficiency and conservation of resources.

The practicum is intended to meet the students’ needs and interests. Therefore it is important for the student to select the practicum site. This requires careful thought, planning, and initiative on the student’s part to locate an appropriate site. The practicum experience MUST BE in a career field where the exercise science degree serves as the foundation. Students MUST BE enrolled in KHP 577 and have approval of their site from the practicum coordinator before they may begin accumulating practicum hours.  For most students, the practicum will take place during the last two semesters of the students’ college career.  Therefore, a student should begin thinking about the practicum during the spring of their junior year, making contacts the semester prior to the one in which they are enrolled in to begin their practicum.

The student must work at least 20 hours per week in the fall and spring semesters and at least 25 hours per week in the summer to meet the required 300 hours minimum.

KHP 577 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do I need to do before starting my practicum experience?

Before starting a practicum experience, students need to: A) Enroll in KHP 577, B) communicate with the practicum coordinator and/or practicum supervisor to identify a practicum site, and C) have a signed copy of the supervisor agreement form outlining student expectations and how this experience relates to the KHP major and future career goals. Students completing practicum experiences within University of Kentucky Health Care (UKHC) will also need to complete onboarding through UKHC Observation and Learning Experience.

What types of experiences count toward my practicum?

Practicum experiences must utilize knowledge, skills, and abilities you have gained from your KHP major and will, hopefully, prepare you for the next phase of your career. Therefore, a wide range of experiences may be considered for your practicum experience. Depending on your career goals, these may include: athletic training, physical therapy, health/wellness coaching, sport nutrition, fitness training, athletic performance enhancement, occupational therapy, nursing, and others. A list of sites where KHP students have recently completed practicum experiences can be found here.

All practicum sites must be approved by the instructor before beginning a practicum experience. If you have questions about a specific site, please contact the practicum coordinator, Dr. Lance Bollinger (

Will I be assigned to a specific practicum site?

No. Since students have different career trajectories and goals, it is the student’s responsibility to contact potential practicum sites and supervisors to secure a practicum position.

When should I contact a practicum site/supervisor?

Securing a practicum site early is essential for success in this course. Students should contact potential practicum supervisors several weeks before the start of the semester in which they are completing practicum. If students have not secured a site by the second week of the semester, it is unlikely they will be able to complete the in-person contact hours required for this course.

Who can serve as my practicum site supervisor?

Students should seek respected professionals in their field with appropriate education, training, and experience. Supervisors should have an educational level greater than or equal to the degree a student is pursuing (unless otherwise approved by the course instructor). Additionally, supervisors should have current licensure or professional certifications as appropriate for their discipline. Students should avoid practicum experiences with family members or friends to avoid nepotism. Students should clearly delineate qualifications of practicum supervisors and previous relationships on the supervisor agreement form.

How many practicum sites can I have?

Students are allowed a maximum of two practicum sites each semester to provide a variety of practicum experiences.

How many practicum hours I need for this course?

All KHP majors must complete a total of 6 credit hours of KHP 577 for graduation. Students can register for 6 credit hours in one semester or take 3 credit hours over the course of two different semesters. Students should ONLY register for either 3 or 6 credit hours in a given semester. For every 3 credit hours, students will complete 150 hours of observation/work as director by their practicum supervisor. Students will track their in-person practicum hours and turn in a signed timesheet at the end of the semester. There are some additional academic requirements for those enrolled in 6 credit hours which balances to the total academic load between students completing practicum in a single semester and those completing a sequence of two 3 credit hour semesters.

Can I start my practicum hours early? If I enroll in 3 credits hours and complete more than my scheduled practicum hours, can I carry these over to the next semester?

For students to be covered by university liability insurance, observation hours may only count toward practicum when a student is actively enrolled in KHP577. Furthermore, due to the reflective nature of the academic assignments for this course, students should not start their practicum experience before the start of the semester. Similarly, students enrolled in 3 credit hours will NOT be permitted to carry practicum hours over from one semester to the next.

What if I can't complete all of my practicum hours in a semester?

Failure to complete all your required practicum hours will negatively affect your final grade in this course. In the event of extenuating circumstances, students may not be able to complete all their scheduled hours. In accordance with Senate rules, students who miss more than 20% of required practicum hours for excused absences may request an “I” for the semester. The instructor will issue a grade change if all practicum course requirements are met within 12 months. Students requesting an “I” for extenuating circumstances will be required to provide appropriate documentation in accordance with Senate rules.

If I enroll in 3 credit hours for two semesters, should I have the same practicum site for both semesters?

It is in students’ best interest to have a variety of experiences early in their careers. Furthermore, due to the reflective nature of the assignments for this course, it is in students’ best interest to have a variety of experiences during practicum. Therefore, students enrolling in 3 credit hours are encouraged to seek new practicum sites for each semester to expose them to a greater variety of experiences. Students wishing to repeat practicum rotations in a subsequent semester should contact the course instructor or practicum supervisor for approval.

Can I be paid for my practicum experience?

Yes. Students may be paid for their practicum experience. However, students are encouraged to seek the best practicum experience for their professional development rather than try to use their current paid job as a practicum site. This should be seen as a chance to pursue new professional experiences rather than a mechanism to make money in the short-term.

Practicum Sites Contact Info

For questions concerning the practicum contact: Dr. Lance Bollinger, practicum coordinator, Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, 201 Seaton Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0219, phone (859) 257-7904, e-mail or fax (859) 323-1090.